Australia serious about 2018 World Cup bid: FFA

April 4, 2008

SYDNEY, April 4 (Reuters) - Australia is serious about wanting to host the 2018 World Cup, said Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chairman Frank Lowy.

Reports have suggested the FFA's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup was really preparation for a more serious attempt to host the 2022 tournament.

'I'm not spending my time on dry runs,' Lowy told the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday.

'I don't have that many years left. I want to make them count. We are going to have the Asian Cup in 2015 also, and that's not a dry run.

'I want to win the right for the 2018 World Cup. We have a reasonable chance. From the soundings I've made so far, I'm quite encouraged.' Lowy said Australia had learned from their quarter-final exit at last year's Asian Cup, their first appearance at the tournament after switching from the Oceania region.

'We should be humble, particularly when we've got nothing to shout about,' Lowy said.

'We thought we would win the Asian Cup, but we got taught a good lesson.'

The Socceroos have taken four points from their first two qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup under new Dutch coach Pim Verbeek.

'He's the right man for us,' Lowy said.

'We could see in the last game even though we didn't have a full team, we played to a system. We are in very good hands. We have a coach who knows this part of the world, he fits in with Asia, he fits in with our strategy.'

Lowy said qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was vital for the continued growth of soccer in Australia.

'Obviously, we expect to be at the World Cup,' Lowy said. 'Obviously, it would be a great great disappointment if we weren't. It's very, very, very important that we make it.'